I visited the city of Yangon in September 2016 and was blown away by the energy and striking contrast between old and new. The former capital of Myanmar has been opening up a lot more in recent years and it is always great to visit a city like that when it is still in its infancy stage of tourism development. After hearing so much about Le Planteur online and from people who have been there, I decided to check it out one afternoon myself to find out why Le Planteur is constantly talked-about as the best restaurant in Yangon.
Getting from anywhere in the city to Le Planteur is fairly easy on taxi but if you are taking one (and if you seem like a tourist), be prepared to be quoted a fix rate instead. I got the Sule Shangri-La, Yangon to flag me a car to take me to Le Planteur - most luxury hotels will know the place so let them communicate with the taxi driver who will then give his or her quotation - you can choose to accept this, haggle or simply decline and try again. I was told by someone who lived there that a ride should cost approximately 3,000 Myanmar Kyats (Ks) but I was quoted 6,000 Ks instead which is approximately S$6.50 (not too bad for a ride that took about 20 minutes).
Traffic was quite heavy on the road during lunch time but once you break out of the city madness, it gets a lot better. If you are familiar with where the Aung San Suu Kyi House (where she spent 15 years under house arrest in) is, Le Planteur is located just slightly further down in a private estate. If you are coming for lunch, be mindful that Gourmet by Le Planteur is only open between 12PM and 2PM (and then again at 6PM to 11PM for dinner).
When the taxi pulled in to the private driveway of Le Planteur, I knew I was in for a treat. Established in 1998, Le Planteur was first hidden away at the far end of a narrow lane in Yangon before moving to Kabar Aye Road. The current waterfront home, located right next to the beautiful Inya Lake (not to be confused with Inle Lake!) on University Avenue now offers four dining concept under the same (massive) roof - Gourmet, High Tea, Wine Bar and Bistro (the bistro is only open during certain months of the year so do send them a quick email to check before heading down). Just for a little background knowledge and appreciation, the Inya Lake is the largest lake in Yangon and it was first created by the British in the 1880s as a water reservoir to provide water to the city of Yangon. The Inya Lake Park is also a popular dating spot amongst the locals and the area surrounding this lake is known to be one of the most exclusive neighbourhoods in Yangon.
The dining atmosphere within Gourmet by Le Planteur is simply amazing - it is classy and elegant and the decor features a mix of French and local Burmese elements. You will definitely notice the French flair right from the moment you step into the place. If you thought the surroundings were impressive, wait til you try the food!
The massive river prawns that were sourced locally had a lobster-like texture - it was firm to bite and yet flavourful with every mouth. The winning component for this dish had to be the saffron espuma and sorbet that was served - you may ask the chef for his recommendation but I would definitely pick the sorbet over the espuma as it was just ingenious.
Any terrine fan should not pass up the opportunity to try the Foie Gras Terrine with Dry Dates here at Le Planteur too. Visually, the dish is just stunning - simple, sophisticated and subtle. What really impressed me however goes beyond how it looks. Have some of this goodness on a fresh slice of bread or even a brioche and you will find yourself in culinary heaven.
Also, how can one go wrong with perfectly seasoned and cooked duck breast and that is sliced ever so beautifully. I love the tenderness and how flavourful it was. My favourite choice of mains however had to be the NZ Lamb Rack Filet in Green Crust - boasting only a subtle gaminess, this tenderly cooked meat was flavourful and executed perfectly.
Gourmet by Le Planteur has got to be one of the best fine-dining restaurants in Yangon - I simply refuse to believe that there is someplace out there in the city that can top the standards here. Not only is the food excellent, the location of the estate and the dining atmosphere all work in unison to create one of the best dining experiences I have had in a while.